With the possibility of bad weather coming to southern Arizona over the New Year’s weekend, the Arizona Department of Public Safety offers these safe-driving tips:
• Check on the latest winter road conditions; call 5-1-1 or view this information on the Web at www.AZ511.com. Dial 9-1-1 only for emergency situations.
• Leave at least 500 feet of distance between your vehicle and a snowplow or salt truck.
• Make sure your gas tank is full and you have some food, warm blankets and clothing in the vehicle in case of emergency. If you have a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and working.
• Tell others about your travel route and itinerary so if you don’t arrive at your destination, your friends can contact law enforcement officers and inform them where to look. Keep others informed if you’re going to be late or encounter problems so they won’t worry needlessly.
• It’s safer to travel with passengers and convoy with other vehicles than it is to drive alone.
• Remember, the speed limit is based on clear roads and dry pavement; don’t drive too fast for conditions. Four-wheel drive doesn’t permit you to drive faster on snow-packed or icy roads.
• Watch for slippery spots on bridges and overpasses.
• Take note of mileposts, exit numbers and crossroads in case you slide off the road or are involved in a crash. That way law enforcement officers and tow truck operators can find you.
• If the storm makes driving too hazardous or if your car breaks down, stay in the vehicle. • Run your engine and heater for short intervals to stay warm. Be sure to crack the window to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
• Add a winter solution/de-icer windshield washer fluid as summer solution will freeze solid. Wiper condition should be checked as well.
• Check your vehicle’s tire tread thickness and condition. Some motorists may elect to have winter tires installed, either studded or non-studded. Tire chains also are a good idea to have on hand for traveling or living in the high country.
For more information, contact Arizona Department of Public Safety at www.azdps.gov.